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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Two Flags West [Blu-ray]

 

(Robert Wise, 1950)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 

Video: Koch Media

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:09.023

Disc Size: 20,952,756,624 bytes

Feature Size: 18,899,324,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Bookstyle case Blu-ray case

Release date: July 26th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1809 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1809 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DUBs: DTS-HD Master Audio German 1817 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1817 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1775 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1775 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

German, none

 

Extras:
• German Trailer (2;27)
• English Trailer (1:21)
• Gallery (7:43)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Two Flags West is set in the waning days of the Civil War. Colonel Clay Tucker (Joseph Cotten) is one of several Confederate prisoners who agree to fight alongside Union soldiers against the Indians in New Mexico. Tucker's Union commander Kenniston (Jeff Chandler) despises all "Johnny Rebs," holding them responsible for the death of his brother. Kenniston has other problems too; he is deeply in love with his sister-in-law Elena (Linda Darnell), but refuses to express his devotion out of loyalty to his dead sibling. He also hates Indians with a passion, and has endangered the safety of his fort by brutally killing a chief's son. There seems to be only one way for Kenniston to purge the demons within him, and he finds that way during a climactic Indian attack.

 

 

The Film:

At a prison camp at Rock Island, Illinois, in the autumn of 1864, Captain Mark Bradford, who became the camp commander after injuries ended his fighting career, offers Confederate prisoners the chance to be paroled. In order to be freed, the prisoners must agree to serve as Union soldiers and protect frontier forts against Indians. The Confederates' leader, Colonel Clay Tucker of Georgia, knows that there will be no further exchanges of prisoners and so considers the offer. After seeing one of his men die in the prison, Clay gets Mark's word that the men will not be asked to fight against their own, then breaks a tie vote among the prisoners in favor of going. Clay is demoted to 2nd lieutenant, and the unit joins the 3rd Cavalry of the Army of the Republic at Fort Thorn, New Mexico. Fort Thorn is commanded by the stern, rebel-hating Major Henry Kenniston, who is frustrated that an injury suffered during his first battle has kept him from the war. At dinner, the major's sister-in-law Elena, a Mexican-American from Monterey, breaks down in tears when Clay relates that he fought at Chancellorsville, where her husband, the major's brother, lost his life.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

All of the popular elements of a good, rousing cavalry film, plus something a little better than usual in the way of a story line, have been handsomely put together by Twentieth Century-Fox in "Two Flags West," a dusty saga that opened at the Rivoli yesterday. And the consequence is a gallant picture which may not have the brilliance or the dash of one supervised by veteran John Ford but will fully pass muster, nonetheless.

Certainly Frank S. Nugent and Curtis Kenyon, who wrote the yarn from which Producer-Writer Casey Robinson prepared the picture's script, started the thing off on the right foot with a neat situation in which Confederate and Yankee cavalry soldiers are thrown together in a Western frontier fort. The Confederates are present by virtue of a Federal amnesty which granted freedom to Southern prisoners who would go to the poorly manned frontier during the war. And since the fort is commanded by a Northern colonel with a psychopathic hate for "rebels" in any shape whatever, the tension is naturally acute.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Two Flags West - a superior Fox western helmed by Robert Wise, gets a 'Region FREE' Blu-ray release from Koch Media in Germany. The image quality is very impressive with rich black levels but a few less-noticeable artifacts. It has no gloss and the increased resolution helps support the grain textures. The original 1.33:1 aspect ratio is maintained and in-motion the transfer looks solid. This is a single-layered Blu-ray with a modest bitrate but still exports some depth and the New Mexico open skies look impressive. This appearance is superior to what I was anticipating but I like the darker, rich, look - rather than the 'faint' one.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1809 kbps. It supports the film's frequent effects from horses to gunfire. The score is by Hugo Friedhofer (Man in the Attic, Ace in the Hole, Body and Soul, Gilda, The Bishop's Wife) and the main theme can sound somewhat repetitive but very clean and crisp. There is a lossless German DUB and fully optional German subtitles. My Oppo has identified it as being a Region Free playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

Not much, A couple of beat-up trailers in German and English and a slideshow gallery of posters, lobby cards and stills. This is housed in a Bookstyle case with an essay in German.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I enjoyed Two Flags West. Actually, there are not many Robert Wise films I don't like. This works on conflicts - with all forgotten when all are united against the ruthless Injuns. Great cast too - Joseph Cotten, Linda Darnell, Jeff Chandler, Cornel Wilde and the stalwart Noah Beery Jr. . The Blu-ray does its job coming from a solid source. The 1080P presentation is quite film-like and fans of the western genre should certainly check out this effort. 

Gary Tooze

June 30th, 2014


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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